Banksy on learning how to take a break
Tuesday Quotes are short explorations of music, life, and the daily endeavor of practicing classical guitar. Find more here. Enjoy!
“If you get tired, learn to rest, not to quit.”
Every part of life has its peaks and troughs. Work, relationships, food, activity, learning – nothing can sustain ecstatic states of euphoria forever.
At some point, the puppy-love wears off. We hit dry spells. Our enthusiasm dims and things seem harder than they used to be.
When things get to the “less fun” stage, we have options.
One of the most common responses is to start something new. Abandon the old and start fresh. This brings the excitement back. We find novelty and feel creative.
But eventually, we’ll enter the trough again. Then we’ll be faced with the same situation and have to make the same choices. Some people spend their whole lives this way. And that’s fine, but it misses out on long-term growth and discovery. Everything stays at surface-level, instead of deepening and maturing.
Instead of quitting when things turn, we can, as the artist Banksy said, “learn to rest”. We can take a step back and regroup.
When we rest, we gather our forces. We reactivate and rejuvenate. We pull back not in weakness, but to wind the spring for the next forward thrust.
We all go through natural cycles that must include moments of repose. We sometimes need rest. It’s not a failing, and it’s doesn’t speak ill of us personally. It’s all part of the game. The important thing is to just rest, and not quit.
What’s your plan for when you get tired? What will you do if you don’t feel motivated to pick up the guitar?
What are your favorite exercises that keep your fingers moving? Are there tunes you love to play, just for fun? Are there recordings that inspire you and remind you why you got into this in the first place? Collect them and go to them when you need a break.
Hi, I’m Allen Mathews.
I started as a folk guitarist, then fell in love with classical guitar in my 20’s. Despite a lot of practice and schooling, I still couldn’t get my music to flow well. I struggled with excess tension. My music sounded forced. And my hands and body were often sore. I got frustrated, and couldn’t see the way forward. Then, over the next decade, I studied with two other stellar teachers – one focused on the technical movements, and one on the musical (he was a concert pianist). In time, I came to discover a new set of formulas and movements. These brought new life and vitality to my practice. Now I help guitarists find more comfort and flow in their music, so they play more beautifully.
Click here for a sample formula.
Those videos on practicing the piece were just awesome, Allen! I've always thought that learning songs might be something completely different than practicing exercises, but the way you teach it makes it much easier than I thought. I'm positive that joining the Woodshed has been the best investment I've ever done for learning the classical guitar. Thank you so much for these lessons.
~ Ulysses Alexandre Alves
-Ulysses Alexandre Alves
I also want to thank you for including more video lessons on the Bridges Guitar Series. I have learned to play Calatayud's Waltz. The most exciting thing about having done this is that I sight-read the entire piece as I was learning it. Six months ago looking at a sheet of music was like looking at Egyptian hieroglyphics. Learning to read notation is empowering and I appreciate the sensible way you are teaching us to learn to read music.
~ Steve Simpler
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